Monthly Archive: December 2010


Former school employees tackle Westinghouse reform issues

Last month Westinghouse High School Alumni saw their several time champion football team play what will probably be their last game as true Bulldogs. Now they already have their eyes set on the future legacy of their alma marter set to be combined with Peabody High School in the Fall of 2011. On Dec. 1, the Westinghouse Alumni Association hosted a community education forum to discuss the East End High School Reform Plan, which includes Westinghouse, Peabody and Allderdice High Schools. They brought in former Pittsburgh Public School teachers and administrators who could now speak freely about the district without fear of repercussions. REGGIE BRIDGES “When they looked at schools in the East End, they didn’t consider All­der­dice. Those of us who have lived in the area know that some schools are untouchable. There was no discussion about the kids at Allderdice,” said Reggie Bridges, Westinghouse Alumni member. “Today we decided we should hear from some of the people who have taught in our school systems.”


Stage AE—Year round venue on North Shore

Wiz Khalifa—sold out. Girl Talk—sold out. Four of the first seven scheduled dates at the new Stage AE venue on the North Side all sold out, even with workers adding finishing touches a day before the first show. If that trend continues for the 100 events managers hope to put on this year, neighboring bars and restaurants will truly welcome their new neighbor. SOUND SYSTEM—The outdoor amphitheater at Stage AE offers views of the point and Mt. Washington to concert goers, those lounging on the lawn during summer time shows. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “If we get people to come to town just one more time a year, that’s 200,000 folks providing tax revenue, and going to these places on General Robinson and Federal Street before or after a show,” said Marketing Director Pat Lucas. The new venue, managed by PromoWest Productions and owned by the Pittsburgh Steelers, has turned what would have been a parking lot into a unique indoor/outdoor concert facility simultaneously reminiscent of the industrial feel of the old Metropol in the Strip District and the open-air lawn seating of First Niagara Pavilion.


‘Waiting for Superman’ panel seeks education answers

Like a lot of young African-American males living in urban areas, Anthony, a fifth grader living in Washington D.C., comes from an unstable home. Having never known his mother, he was raised by his father until his death from a drug overdose. The nationally controversial documentary “Waiting for Superman” follows Anthony and his grandmother as they struggle to get Anthony into an all boys’ boarding school. This school is viewed by Anthony’s grandmother as her grandson’s ticket out of a cycle of crime, drugs and violence. BILL STRICKLAND Following a private screening of the film at South Side Works Cinemas on Dec. 2, local “Superman” William Strickland, president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation and The National Center for Arts & Technology who had a role in the film, assembled a panel of Pittsburgh education reformers and other national figures that also had ties with the film.


Diversity network a homerun

More than 150 business and community leaders from a variety of industries and backgrounds gathered on Dec. 1 at PNC Park inside the Trib Total Media Hall of Fame Club for an evening of networking, great conversation and fun hosted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. If the statues of Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente could speak they would be proud to see such a diverse group of guests enjoying the beautiful ball park. Guests dined on hors d’oeuvres and a light dinner and took advantage of the opportunity to take photos with Pittsburgh Pirate Neil Walker and meet Miss Pittsburgh 2010, Kristen Taylor. TOGETHER—Chaz Kellum, center, with special guests: Kristen Taylor (Miss Pittsburgh) and Neil Walker (Pittsburgh Pirates). (Photos by Debbie Norrell)


Speak Out: Should there be a national search for new Pgh school superintendent?

Several activist groups have called for a national search for the replacement of Pittsburgh School Superintendent Mark Roosevelt. So we asked Pittsburghers what they thought and this is what you said: “It doesn’t matter where they go, as long as they get a person who’s an educational person and not business person. Our children can’t read and write. They’ve turned the school system all the way around, sending them from one side of the city to the other to go to school and they still can’t read. They need somebody who’s an educational.”Diane MalireyHill DistrictRetired Drug & ­Alcohol Counselor


Child rights prize awarded to Dominican teen

(NNPA/GIN)– From a sugar cane workers village in the Dominican Republic, 16 year old Francia Simon was selected from among 80 entries to receive the global KidsRights prize for helping children, including Haitian refugees, obtain necessary ID documents. “My own situation gave me a reason to work with other children, whose basic rights were violated since birth, without a name or nationality,” said Francia, who is Afro-Dominican and had no birth certificate herself until last year. “Without a certificate, you are nothing.” she said. FRANCIA SIMON


Black Ivy League students claim club racially discriminated against them

(NNPA)—A group of Black Ivy League students and graduates claim the owners of a popular club in Cambridge, Mass. unfairly kicked them out because of their ethnicity. According to Boston NBC affiliate WHDH, an event was held at Cure Lounge by a group of Black Yale and Harvard students on Nov. 18. But the private function, held in celebration of the big Harvard-Yale football game, was shut down just 15 minutes after it started. While some bouncers blamed the shut-down on technical difficulties, one of the students said he overheard club managers say they spotted “gang bangers” in line to enter, and were allegedly concerned that the Black students and graduates would draw the wrong crowd.


Katrina looms over deadly police shooting trial

NEW ORLEANS (AP)—Officers shot an unarmed man in the back and then burned his body in a car and doctored a report to conceal their crimes in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a federal prosecutor said Monday at a trial that will test the government’s push to clean up the troubled New Orleans police department. While prosecutors insisted Katrina offers no excuses, attorneys for the five current or former officers charged in Henry Glover’s death have urged jurors to consider the 2005 storm when judging their actions. STORMY TRIAL— Rev. Audrey Wallace, left, from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Rebecca Glover, aunt of Henry Glover, talk outside the courthouse where five New Orleans police officers are on trial in New Orleans, Nov. 10. (Ao Photo/Gerald Herbert)


Some want jobs for Christmas

(NNPA)—In the weeks since the “shellacking” of the Nov. 2 election, there has been much talk that the economy will turn around and, indeed, is on the mend. Both pundits and expert economists are saying the economic indicators are better. The recession is over, according to these indicators, and it is unlikely that we have a double dip recession. The stock market has done well this year. So why is the unemployment rate so high? The November unemployment numbers went up, not down. Now at 9.8 percent we are only two-tenths of a percentage point lower than this time a year ago. No wonder voters rejected Democrats at the polls in November. If there is progress it has come far too slowly, and all Americans are taking it in the pocketbook.


Al Gore: The greatest environmental hustler

(NNPA)—The subject of the Environment has long been a political football. Many manipulators have used it to gain power, thwart power or to save the world from something that isn’t quite clear. Global warming; global cooling, cancers, flooding, droughts, etc. causes questions and worries about what is going on and how we can bring it under control. The first major politician to finesse this issue was the late President Richard M. Nixon. He elevated the Environmental Protection Agency and started “Earth Day” as a mechanism to divert attention from the anti-war and the civil rights movements that were whirling from Vietnam/Cambodia and the recent assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Before long, more than a few politicians saw the advantage of embracing the issue and rallying the masses for political gain.